The drivetrain is probably the least cared for part of the bike. We love quick clean shifts but won't spend more than 2 minutes looking at the caked chainrings. Hey, this stuff works inspite of all that..

Shimano XTR 4 arm
Wonderful shifting. Very light and stiff! Recommended anytime. However, earlier model BB doesn't seal well and was very rough after some wet rides. Creaking on the left side as well. Replaced with newer BB and no problem since. - Oldman
Shimano XTR 4 arm and splined BB
The best crank set ever made! Makes me feel so smart to get it cheap from Wankie. The splined bottom bracket adds heap of stiffness. Although the 5 arm version is more popular, it is a compromise to accommodate other manufacturer's downhill chain rings. The original Shimano Skunk team designed 4 arms to cut weight and if you want the real accent of an XTR crank, it doesn't make sense to get 5 arms. One draw back is the coating and XTR wordings get scrape off easily. This product gets 4 tapeworms from me.- Elvis
As for cranks and BB, the only cranks I have run have been the Shimano LX and XT 1996 and 1998 models. They have been great. However the Goat has managed to crack the middle chainring of the '98 model so it may not be that great after all. The BBs do creak and need annual checks and loctite. The real wonder came when I got the splined hollow BBs on my road bike using 2000 Ultegras. They were sweet and when compared to the square-taper XTs that I use on the MTB, they are superior. No flex noticeable at all when you hammer up the hill. So guess what? It'll be a splined Shimano for me when I manage to scrounge up enough money to but a new crank. Any one with $500 to spare? - Doc
Shimano XTR with splined BB
The best! No arguments. Makes me feel like a fool ‘cos I sold mine to Elvis and got RaceFace instead. I’m back to XTR now. Sorry honey, men have a tendency to stray. It’s all in the genes. - Wanker

RaceFace LP with RaceFace rings
Fundamentally nothing wrong with the crankarms but the chainrings just don’t shift as well as Shimanos. Plus the CNC’ed I-beam crankarms have a tendency to collect mud and dirt at very difficult to clean places. Totally spoils the looks and adds those few grams to your bike, without which you would be 0.0235 seconds faster. - Wanker

Decent cranks. I had less complains about these compared to the RaceFace, probably ‘cos I was running XT chainrings on them. - Wanker
Shimano Deore LX 4 arm
Best value for money. Not as cool looking as XTR though, and remember folks, looks are all that matters. Otherwise, you can’t really complain. You get what you pay for. - Wanker
Shimano XTR 9 SPEED 
XTR doesn't last very long if you don't give tender loving care. Now using XT with XTR crank! XT last longer from my experience and shift well. - Oldman
Shimano XT Front / Rear D
Using XTs at the moment. Was tempted to switch to XTR rear but couldn’t bear the thought of having a $150 piece of equipment getting thrashed through the undergrowth and getting banged by all the rocks. Less strain on the pocket if you bang a $75 XT. - Wanker
I only use Shimano. Again, XTR rules, but at a price. Still using the old 8 speed ones. Who needs 9 speed when you can’t count more than 5 when you’re grinding up the hill trying to ignore the pain in your legs, not to mention trying to breathe. - Wanker
Shimano Ultegra STI levers.  
The 2001 Ultegra lever is a good improvement over the 99 version I had. No more irritating rattling from the levers. The shifting is precise and predictable.
- Oldma
Shimano LX Rapidfire
LX Rapidfire rapidly developed too much freeplay. Not good! Back to old faithful XT Thumbshifters! No problem, never had any! If you old enough like me, you'll like it as much as me! Best thing I like about thumbies is the ability to trim front and rear. Yes, I am riding friction mode! - Oldman
Grip Shift
Grip Shits!!! Grip Shifts I mean. Nothing better than the twisters. Pity that SRAM bought Sachs. They got rid off the old multiple shifts available for the front shifters when they moved to 9 speed. By the way its heaps lighter than the pods. This is one thing that Shimano did not get right. - Doc

Feel differently from them, send comments or criticism to oldman@teamabsolut.net, doc@teamabsolut.net, wanker@teamabsolut.net, elvis@teamabsolut.net

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